Self-talk is the act of talking to yourself either aloud or mentally. These are the messages that you are telling yourself all day long about yourself. Are your messages to yourself positive and uplifting, or are you constantly beating yourself down? Would you want to be around a friend who constantly says negative and derogatory things about you all day long? Of course not, so don’t do it to yourself.
The messages you tell yourself will encourage and motivate you, or they will limit you because they are negative. For example, if you go to a work party and make a joke in front of 10 colleagues and no one really laughs, just a few chuckles from those being nice, what do you tell yourself after the party? Do you drive home thinking “I should have just kept my mouth shut, now they think I am an idiot,” or do you tell yourself “No big deal, at least I put myself out there and tried.”
Version one of self-talk will make you question yourself at your next social event. You may even hold yourself back from saying too much out of fear of embarrassment or making yourself feel bad. Worse yet, you may develop an aversion to social situations because you make yourself feel insecure about your interactions with others because of your self-talk.
Version two of self-talk allows you to give yourself a pass to try again. To just be human and interact with others because we cannot all be on spot with humor and social interactions 100% of the time, but it is worth the effort to at least try. Self-talk is so important, as these are the messages that determine whether you should keep trying or not. The messages you send yourself can either help you succeed or they can hold you back and keep you paralyzed in fear.
Here are 15 tips to help you provide yourself with good, positive self-talk in everyday life:
1. Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive
Negative thoughts happen. It’s hard to provide yourself with positive thoughts all the time. However, you can start replacing negative thoughts with the positive. There is always a flip side or upside to any situation. It’s up to you to start finding the positive in order to begin changing your negatives into positives. For example, if you sign up for a half-marathon race and make it to mile ten and then get a leg cramp so bad that you are unable to finish, you may mentally call yourself a quitter or consider the situation a failure. You can turn those thoughts around by telling yourself that at least you tried and you made it all the way to mile ten. Remind yourself how you pushed through some tough hills on the course and you stayed committed to all the training that got you to be able to run in the race. Be positive when negative thoughts creep into your mind. Doing so will help you find the motivation to try again in the future. It you concentrate on the negative, you are mentally holding yourself back from trying again.
2. Have a Purpose Higher than Self
Having a strong faith in a higher power is helpful in having positive self-talk. Research shows that teens who had “regular religious service attendance, high subjective importance of faith and years spent in religious youth groups are associated with higher self-esteem and more positive self-attitudes.” Having faith in a higher power, along with involvement in a religious community, helps individuals have higher self-esteem. Self-esteem and self-talk go hand in hand.
3. Cut Overly Negative People out of Your Life
Everyone can have a down day and be negative or moody. However, some people seem to have down days every day of their life. If you have some of these people in your life it, may be time to distance yourself from them. Attitudes of the people you are around will have an effect on your own attitude. If someone has a negative attitude they are likely to bring down those around them, especially if their negativity is pervasive over time and across a variety of situations. It is hard to cut family or co-workers out of your life; however, you can limit your time and exposure to these people. Don’t spend time off work with negative co-workers. Don’t hang with negative co-workers in the break room. Keep the negativity to a minimum in your life by limiting your time with negative people..
4. Be Grateful
A great way to find the positive in your life and create positive self-talk is to recognize the things in your life for which you can be grateful. A study in Psychology Today showed that “young adults assigned to keep gratitude journals showed greater increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to the other groups.” Finding things you are grateful for in life on a daily basis helps to improve your attitude, which will help you have better, more positive self-talk..
5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
When you are constantly comparing yourself to what others have and what you don’t have, you can easily get down on yourself. It is easy to become negative about your life if you are playing the comparison game. Instead, find gratitude in what you do have, rather than concentrating on what you don’t have. You can always find others who are better off than you or worse off than you. If is more important to concentrate on yourself and on being grateful for your own life and not making any comparisons.
6. Use Positive Words with Others
If we are negative with our words with others, then we are more than likely to be negative in our mind about ourselves as well. Having negative thoughts leads to negative self-talk. If you are in a negativity rut, then stop now. Start speaking life and affirmation to the people in your life that you love, including yourself. Doing so will help improve the attitude in your heart. Positivity breeds positivity, and negativity breeds negativity. Choose the positive for yourself and others.
7. Believe in Your Success
Believe in your ability to succeed. Believe in the abilities and skills that you have, so that you can propel yourself toward success. Doubting yourself holds you back from trying and thus holds you back from succeeding. Believe you can succeed, even if it takes multiple tries.
8. Don’t Fear Failure
Don’t fear failure, as it is often the road to success. Some of the greatest success stories in life are of people who failed multiple times before becoming successful. If they had given up the first time after failing, then they never would have become hugely successful. Fear of failure holds back many people from ever even trying to succeed. They remain in their status quo in life because they live in fear of failure. If Milton Hersey had given up after his first three candy companies failed, he wouldn’t have gone on to create the world-famous Hershey’s candy company. He is just one example of someone who failed many times before finally succeeding: “6 Stories of Super Successes Who Overcame Failure.” Don’t allow fear to hold you back from trying. Tell yourself you can keep trying if you do fail!
9. Post Positive Affirmations
A great way to provide positive self-talk to yourself is to write it down. Have positive mantras, scriptures, and affirmations written and posted for you to view throughout your day. Post them on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, next to your computer screen, or wherever you can see them often on a daily basis. Having positive messages around you helps to shape positive self-talk in your mind.
10. Don’t Dwell in the Past
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has a past. Everyone has bad things in their past. Don’t concentrate on these failures, mistakes, or negative things that have happened in your life. Keep your mind focused on the future and what is possible. Especially the positive things that are possible. There is a reason why your windshield is so big and your rear-view mirror is so small in your vehicle. What’s ahead is far more important than what is behind you.
11. Visualize Your Success
Your ability to visualize your success is tied to your ability to actually achieve success. This article on visualizing success shows how many highly successful people use visualizing to help them succeed. Visualizing helps you think positively about your situation and encourages you to see that your vision of success is possible.
12. Limit Your Intake of the News and Media
The news and media can be predominantly negative. When you are constantly feeding your mind negative messages it becomes very difficult to find positive self-talk. Limit your exposure to news and media. It’s good to be an informed citizen, but sometimes it is good for your mind and soul to shut off the TV and cut off the negativity that is happening everywhere in the world. Remind yourself there are lots of positive things happening in the world too, but they just aren’t put on the news.
13. Help Others
Helping others is a way to bless others, but it can also be an even bigger blessing to yourself. This article on helping others shows how beneficial this act can be to yourself. You can experience feelings of being more positive, empowered, and optimistic by helping others. These feelings will help you have better self-talk during your day. Try to do one thing each day to help another person, so that you can begin the habit of helping others on a regular basis. You will thank yourself later, as will the people you help.
14. Be Physically Active
This article on research related to exercise and mental health shows that there are a great many benefits to becoming active. The article reviewed a variety of research studies and pointed to the many benefits of exercise including: increased creativity, reduced anxiety, improved self-confidence, reduced stress, increase in happy brain chemicals, and more. All of these factors will help with your ability to provide positive self talk to yourself and eventually succeed in life. Get up, get active, and improve your body and mind together by exercising on a regular basis.
15. Dream and Set Goals
A great way to begin positive self-talk is to dream about the future. What is your desire in life? What do you want out of life? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 15 years? Allow yourself to dream big and then set smaller goals toward reaching those end goals. Encourage yourself toward your life successes by providing supportive messages about how you will achieve these goals. When you reach these small goals you will develop positive thoughts about your abilities and skills related to how you achieved these milestones. This helps with your positive self-talk. Don’t get down on yourself if you do have failures along the way. Allow for flexibility and changing of plans along your route, and you will be a happier person. Tell yourself it’s OK to let go of some dreams and take on new ones as well. Your life is yours. Allow yourself to dream and to go for those dreams. Shoot for the stars; you never know which one you will hit. If not the first one, then try, try again. Respect and appreciate yourself and your ability to keep trying
disclaimer: This article was inspired by Dr. Magdalena Battles, credits to her brilliant work.